This preliminary overview aims primarily to make plausible that kinship is an attribution, that is, that it is tied to observations as uses of distinctions. However, observation is contingent, not arbitrary, and it both requires and generates ontologies on a case-by-case basis. The claim that kinship is resolvable into ‘relatedness’ runs into this very impasse of the notion of indifferent arbitrariness. For if kinship were indeed merely a synonym for relatedness, i. e., for inclusions, the question would arise as to what is excluded and what is not excluded concerning which arrangement. However, if one follows the suggestion made here that kinship is a medium of communication in which forms, i. e., distinctions, can be inscribed, one can turn to the classical functionalist question of how these forms have been deployed culturally and across social-evolutionary ruptures, and perhaps functionally equivalently. If it is the case that kinship is based on distinctions, the question of their respective social environments also becomes interesting for the observers of these observations. Therefore, the sketch also refers to attributions and contextures as conditions of the possibility of distinctions in this case. Thus, patronage can be brought into play as a phenomenon in the environment of kinship. As a hypothesis, it is formulated that patronage parasitically participates in the genealogical and functional forms of differentiation of pre-modern and modern societies, respectively.